No better night to think on life as the solitary female in our household as tonight on this Oiche Nollaig na mban or Women’s Little Christmas. All over the country, ladies, after a Christmas of catering, running around, wrapping, breaking up fights and pouring drinks are getting a well deserved break. Here, I’m just not that organised. Instead I’m typing alongside the youngest man in my life, my seven month old as he settles himself to sleep in a new cot.
Here’s a new concept for you though, especially poignant for ladies of the farming community. Mi Nollaig na mban. Month of Women’s Christmas, also known as January. Apparently, our calves are late calvers by some standards but by my standards, February 1st is enough time to be welcoming the first of our new calves to the farm. And so, farming wise, things are quiet enough. Time for some much needed loveliness for the woman of the house. Sigh, these boys are busy. Noisy. Hungry. Dirty more often than not. I grew up amongst women and didn’t really understand what a little boy was until, well, to be honest, I’m still learning. Every now and again I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and think, you’re turning into one of them, go brush your hair! More often than not, I’m shouting to be heard and I find myself constantly cooking or baking. And they’re babies really. What’s to come?
So, onto loveliness. January has become the month when Daddy steps in to put the boys to bed and I get a chance to at least wash my face. January comes, as you know, before our Spring, a time when I become a lone parent, whilst the farmer is practically living on the farm. So, during this, my ‘month off’ I make plans, I visit a dentist (a luxury these days), a hairdresser, have a facial, go to the sales. Moreover, I get the chance to remind myself that I am deep down, a bit girly, one who likes the feminine, clothes, red lipstick and shoes that are far too expensive and coincidentally, not wellies. Time to myself.
So they’re asleep now, on this Oiche Nollaig na mban, three sets of blue eyes closed for the night and so, rest ensues. Back to planning my month of some loveliness. But, blink, one pair of blue eyes open again. Say it ain’t so. Hold that lovely thought.